Best of Blog 2017

Vancouver-based beauty, life and style blogger Solo Lisa wears a salt-and-pepper sweatshirt from Roots and beachy waves styled using the Conair Metá e Metá

Happy holidays, dear readers! Before we gear up for 2018, I thought it might be nice to take a look back at some of this year's blog highlights. (Bonus tip: If you click on any of the photos they'll take you to the original post.) Ready? Let's go!


Merry Christmas!

flat lay featuring rhinestone necklace, Chanel camellia-embossed wallet on chain WOC, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Dior makeup

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season filled with laughter, love, and warmth! I hope you got everything you wished for from Santa and you're enjoying some well-deserved time off.

Thank you for continuing to read and support this little corner of the Internet—it means the world to me. I'll be rounding my favourite posts of the year later this week for those of you who are in the office working through the holidays. In the meantime, I'm just going to enjoy time with friends and family and just relax before gearing up for the new year. See you in 2018!


Last Minute Gift Ideas From Fresh Beauty & Rocky Mountain Soap Co.

Boxed beauty gift sets from Fresh and Rocky Mountain Soap Co.

It's now officially five days until Christmas, and no matter how organized I try to be every year I always find myself running errands in the final week. If you are one of those people with decorations in place, presents wrapped, and cookies baked who is now smugly sipping cocoa listening to Christmas music: Tell me your secrets!! Anyway, whether you've checked off everything on your list and you're rewarding yourself for a job well done, or you're still looking for a few last-minute gifts, look no further than these beautiful boxed gift sets from Fresh and Rocky Mountain Soap Company. The boxes are so lovely, in fact, you might be tempted to leave them unwrapped if you're really pressed for time!


Lazy Girl Approved: Conair Metá e Metá (Half & Half) Infiniti Pro

Lazy Girl Approved highlights long-lasting, goof-proof, fuss-free products that can fit into the most minimalist of regimens. If you consider yourself a low-maintenance beauty lover, these product reviews are for you!

Flatlay featuring Conair Metá e Metá (Half & Half) Infiniti Pro

As a bona fide Lazy Girl when it comes to hair and beauty, my T3 straightening and curling irons rarely trip the light fantastic—so why do I have both of these tools, and expensive versions at that? If only something like the new Conair Metá e Metá (Half & Half) Infiniti Pro ($139.99 on sale for $129.99 at London Drugs) had existed back when I was shopping around for hair styling appliances. This versatile two-in-one device not only cuts down on the number of hair appliances one needs, it takes the guesswork out of creating perfect waves. Oh, and it probably goes without saying that it's perfect for DIY hairstyles over the holiday season or as a gift idea. You'll want to bookmark this review!


Best Beauty Gifts To Give & Get

Beauty gift sets from Charlotte Tilbury, Fresh Beauty, Saje, Consonant, Stila, Dior, Tata Harper, Pixi, Rocky Mountain Soap Co, Crabtree & Evelyn

The title says it all: These are the gift sets that will light up the faces of the beauty lovers on your list.


Luminous Winter Skin With Tata Harper

Tata Harper all-natural skincare for hydrated, luminous skin in the winter time, including: Beautifying Face Oil, Illuminating Moisturizer, Illuminating Eye Creme, Hydrating Floral Essence

My medicine cabinet is looking a lot greener lately, and I'm not just talking about my efforts to go more natural with my skincare—the various Tata Harper bottles that have snuck into my winter routine have literally brightened up the shelves with their signature green-and-gold packaging! Usually I only use one or two Tata Harper products in a more eclectic regimen that also includes drugstore and department store finds. This season, however, my skin seems to be craving intensely moisturizing, all-natural skincare that will leave it hydrated, nourished, and luminous. The four Tata Harper products in this post fit the bill exactly.


$25 & Under Gift Guide

$25 and under gift guide round-up stocking stuffers

This round-up of affordable gifts proves that thoughtfulness doesn't have to come with a huge price tag. Consider yourself covered for Secret Santas, office coworkers, stocking stuffers, and BFF gifts.


Stila Holiday 2017

Stila Holiday 2017 gift sets, including Play It Cool Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Set, Sheer Delight Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Set, Big Shots Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner and Huge Extreme Lash Mascara

I've loved Stila Cosmetics since my early twenties, when their Lip Glazes were much coveted and my most-used eyeshadow palette was a neutral trio I'd picked up at Urban Outfitters that included Stila's cult-fave shimmery peachy-pink shade, 'Kitten'. Over the years as I've grown up, Stila has too. Today they offer more sophisticated shades and formulations, but they've still managed to retain the charm and femininity that infuses Stila's DNA. This look at their holiday 2017 offerings is going to be a lot of fun—be prepared to covet everything!


Dior Holiday 2017 Precious Rocks Collection

Dior holiday 2017 Precious Rocks Collection including: Diorific Vernis nail polish in 998 Amethyst and 745 Grenat, Diorific Matte Fluid lip and cheek colour in 005 Charm and 007 Desire, Diorific Khol lipstick in 991 Bold Amethyst

Here at Solo Lisa headquarters, the lead-up to Christmas always follows a certain rhythm. After American Thanksgiving and Black Friday have passed, I light my favourite Frasier Fir Thymes candles so the whole condo smells like evergreen trees and put on Christmas music while I write my cards. I also start playing with the limited edition samples and gift sets that cross my beauty blogging desk, which usually include something special from Dior. Over the years of reviewing Dior's holiday beauty collections, I've come to expect certain signatures: Luxe gold packaging; formulas that deliver rich pigments and superior wear; dramatic shades; and lots of glitter, metallics, shine, or all of the above. The Dior holiday 2017 Precious Rocks collection is no exception. Let's take a closer look, shall we?


Drugstore Delight: Olay Age Defying Advanced With Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Gel Cream Moisturizer

Olay Age Defying Advanced With Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Gel Cream Moisturizer

This Drugstore Delight review comes courtesy of my husband, who point blank refuses to do anything with his skin unless he's reminded to. You might remember that the last time I got him to try a face mask, five years fell off his face. Well, since then he's lapsed into his usual habits (or lack thereof). And even though he has excellent skin genes working in his favour, things have been looking a little ashy and dry lately. A couple weeks ago I offered to do my home facial routine on him, and afterward I handed him Olay Age Defying Advanced With Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Gel Cream Moisturizer.


Product Review: The Body Shop Scrub & Body Cream

The Body Shop Spa of the World French Grape Seed Scrub Refining Body Scrub and The Body Shop Spa of the World Ethiopian Green Coffee Cream Firming Body Cream

The Body Shop has been on my radar since high school, but I have to admit that until I was invited to a media preview in late August, I hadn't set foot in one of their stores in ages. Now that I've had time to test-drive some of their new bath and body care launches though, I'm starting to get an inkling of how much I've been missing out on all these years, especially when it comes to their much-loved body scrubs and body butters. Today I'm focusing on the French Grape Seed Body Scrub ($32) and Ethiopian Green Coffee Cream ($36), which will keep your skin feeling soft and smooth all winter, particularly if you opt for the oversize 350 ml tubs. More details after the jump!


Drugstore Delight: Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink

Flat lay featuring Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink lipstick in classic red 'Pioneer', a sparkly statement necklace from J. Crew, and an air plant in a white geometric bowl

Between buying presents and attending parties—and all the primping and little extras in between—the holiday season can be a very expensive time of year. So isn't it wonderful when you find an affordable lipstick that you can rely on for added drama in day-to-night looks, one that stays on through cocktails and dinners? Well, look no further than Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink ($11.99 at London Drugs).


My Fave Natural Cold & Flu Remedies

My fave cold and flu remedies

A-choo! Hopefully that's not you right now. The weather has taken a turn for the cold and wintry here in Vancouver, and while I'm excited for all things Christmas, this time of year also heralds cold and flu season. The natural remedies in this post are the extras that make me feel that much better and set me on the road towards recovery.


Venice Travel Diary

Selfie on the Rialto Bridge looking over Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

When we were planning our honeymoon in Italy, Venice was the destination we were both most ambivalent about, especially after reading this New York Times article likening it to "Disneyland for adults" and hearing several fellow bloggers complain about what a tourist trap it was. Rome had history and a certain grandeur about it; Florence had the Medici and medieval architecture; Cinque Terre looked amazing in photos. But Venice, what did it have? Canals? Gondolas? In the end though, Venice ended up blowing us away and was by far the best, most enjoyable leg of our trip.


Rome Travel Diary

Walking through the cobblestoned streets and hidden arches of Rome

Of all the places we visited in Italy, Rome had some of the trip's highest highs and lowest lows.


My Current Home Facial Routine

At-home facial routine featuring products from Caudalie, Philosophy, Pixi, Fresh Beauty, The Face Shop, L'Oreal

Most days I tend to skip wearing makeup, but that's partly because I take my skincare very seriously. Since returning from Italy, I've tweaked my twice-weekly at-home facial routine so that it's geared towards making my skin as glow-y and radiant as possible, all while minimizing scars from old blemishes, redness, congested/enlarged pores, and any sun damage incurred from being careless with SPF on hot summer days. The products featured here have been talked about ad nauseum on the blog (and some of them look embarassingly empty in this post!). However, at the same time, isn't it reassuring that that a beauty blogger with access to countless samples would keep returning to these tried-and-true faves? These products work, and in the weeks of following this routine I've noticed a marked improvement.


Lazy Girl Approved: Olay Luminous Brightening & Protecting Lotion With Sunscreen SPF 30

Lazy Girl Approved highlights long-lasting, goof-proof, fuss-free products that can fit into the most minimalist of regimens. If you consider yourself a low-maintenance beauty lover, these product reviews are for you!

Olay Luminous Brightening & Protecting Lotion With Sunscreen SPF 30

My Lazy Girl approach to beauty has always been to take care of my skin and go easy on the makeup. Often that means my medicine cabinet is cluttered with countless mists, toners, serums, and lotions for every occasion. While that works very well when I'm at home, traveling is another story altogether. My strategy? Streamline my skincare as much as possible and opt for multi-taskers like Olay Luminous Brightening & Protecting Lotion With Sunscreen SPF 30.


Empties: October 2017

Empty beauty and skincare and bodycare products featuring Almay, Avene, Pantene, Saje, Rocky Mountain Soap Co, Annabelle, Lise Watier, Herbal Essences, Crabtree & Evelyn, Leaves of Trees, Tata Harper, Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, Cover Girl

Reflecting on this latest batch of empties is a bit like a greatest hits and misses retrospective of summer. Some have been featured on the blog previously (in which case I have an opportunity to revisit my previous opinions—yay!) and some are new to this post. Let's dive in, shall we?


New & Noteworthy: Rouge Dior Liquid Lipstick

Rouge Dior Liquid Lipstick in 424 Hypnotic Matte, 979 Poison Metal, 427 Delicate Satin

While we were in Italy, at home in Vancouver everyone seems to have fast-forwarded from summer patio parties right into the depths of fall. I returned from my trip and its exhilarating highs only to feel as though I'd fallen in a time warp. My surefire ways to snap into the spirit of things after two weeks away and a long flight home? Take a long shower and do a body scrub, followed by a pampering at-home skincare routine. Pick up a few decorative gourds and fresh blooms for the condo. And last but certainly not least, re-assess my makeup routine, switching from a minimal summer regimen that relies on a tan and glossy pink or coral lips to something more dramatic and polished. Luckily, samples of the newly launched Rouge Dior Liquid Lipstick ($43) landed on my beauty desk right before I departed on my trip. I can already tell they'll be a go-to as we head into a new season and I begin embracing all things autumn.


Off To Italy!

Wedding day photo

All roads lead to Rome. The month before I turned 25 on September 25th, I briefly contemplated doing something wild and crazy to celebrate my champagne birthday and landed on going to Rome by myself. That trip never happened. Instead I stayed in town and planned a huge party at which I got very drunk. Lawrence, the sweet guy I'd met through salsa dancing and only started dating the week before, showed up at my doorstep to pick me up on the night of the party wearing his best blue shirt and holding a dozen red roses. Fast forward through our relationship, from dating to buying a condo and moving in together, our engagement, getting married last year. Now here we are, both of us heading to Italy for the first time for our honeymoon. Funny how things come full circle, isn't it? I'm so happy and grateful that I ended up taking this "8-year detour" and I'll be seeing the Eternal City for the first time with my love by my side.


Drugstore Delight: L'Oreal Pure-Clay Skincare

L'Oreal Pure-Clay Masks & Cleansers

September is often dubbed "the other January" because it's a fresh chance for us to tackle goals as we return to school and work. But as stress accumulates over the coming weeks our skin will probably crave a little TLC, especially when summer tans fade and the damage wrought by pollution and sun starts to reveal itself. The good news? You don't have to spend a mint to get effective skincare that works as the L'Oreal Pure-Clay line proves. This collection of masks and cleansers is formulated to tackle a wide variety of concerns and features a trio of clays (Kaolin, Montmorillonite, and Moroccan) as the hero ingredients. I've been testing them on and off since they crossed my beauty desk earlier this summer—I have my favourites and I'm sure if you try them, you'll have the formulas you're partial to as well. All the details after the jump!


Dior Fall 2017 Metallics Collection

Dior Metallics Fall 2017 Collection

Despite the fact that Labour Day weekend was unseasonably warm in Vancouver, my thoughts have already turned to fall. September has always been my favourite month of the year: it's the month of my birthday, when Hubs and I started dating eight years ago, and this year we're also celebrating our first wedding anniversary(!) on Sunday. Aside from the personal and sentimental reasons, I just love the richness of the hues in makeup collections at this time of year. Case in point? The Dior Metallics Fall 2017 collection, which according to creative and image director Peter Phillips is a collection of "vibrant metallics and muted mattes." In other words, there's something for everyone whether you're craving drama or subtlety this season. I've got a few samples to show you after the jump!


Empties: August 2017

Round-up of empty and used beauty and skincare products for August 2017

I can't believe it's been three months since my last empties post! Since I decided to start doing these round-ups, I've been much better about saving my empty packaging and taking notes on each product in my bullet journal. Here's what I've gone through.


Drugstore Delight: Pixi Sheer Cheek Gel And Gel Tint & Silk Gloss

Pixi by Petra Sheer Cheek Gels and GelTint & SilkGloss

No matter what time of year it is, I firmly believe a little colour on the lips or cheeks goes a long way in bringing life and energy to one's complexion, which is why I was so delighted by some of the recent Pixi Beauty samples to arrive at Solo Lisa headquarters. These are not new launches nor are they limited editions, but considering Pixi has only been available Canada-wide at Shoppers Drug Mart since January, they still feel pretty new here north of the 49th parallel!


Recent Givenchy Launches

Recent 2017 Givenchy beauty launches including: Prisme Libre loose powder Couture Edition, Le Rouge Couture Edition, Le Rouge Sculpt in 01 Sculpt'n Roge, Le Rouge in Pourpre Edgy, Noir Interdit Mascara

One of the unfortunate side effects of being chronically ill, having surgery and returning after a hiatus, and getting back in Bar Method is that I'm way behind on all of my blogging, including talking about some of the products that Givenchy has launched so far in 2017. I have no idea what the Canadian availability of the limited editions is at the moment, but I did find them all listed on the American Sephora website so that's a hopeful sign. Beauty lovers, here's what's new and noteworthy from Givenchy this year!


Bar Method Post-Surgery (Plus An Intro Offer For You!)

Flat lay featuring pink and purple special edition Bar Method socks and air plants

Exactly two months ago I underwent a minimally invasive laparascopic surgery, but let's face it, even minor surgery is still surgery. Thanks to Bar Method though, the 4-6 week recovery process was quicker and more painless than expected. You've probably heard me talk about Bar Method on the blog time and again, and if you haven't tried it yet (or you tried ages ago and haven't been back since) I have an amazing offer for you at the end of this post!


Product Review: Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Soothing Shampoo & Conditioner

Product Review: Rocky Mountain Soap Co. all-natural Soothing Shampoo and Conditioner in vanilla coconut scent

In my journey towards a greener beauty routine I've been going for a natural-ish approach. My rough rule-of-thumb is to try to avoid endocrine disruptors and go for natural formulas whenever possible, especially for anything I use over large areas of skin that's absorbed like moisturizer, skincare, lip balm, and so on, but I wouldn't stress out too much if I occasionally strayed into conventional products, especially when it came to colour cosmetics and cleansers. That said, I've been curious about natural shampoo and conditioner for a while. Do they really work? Are they worth the hype? Would they be as effective as what I could buy at the drugstore or salon? I got the chance to find out firsthand when Rocky Mountain Soap Co. sent me their Soothing Shampoo and Soothing Conditioner ($15.50 each) in the vanilla coconut scent.


New & Noteworthy: Caudalie Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence

Caudalie Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence and Caudalie Vinoperfect Complexion Correcting Radiance Serum

If there's anything that'll create dark spots quickly on your skin it's sun and oxidative stress brought on by pollution, so needless to say the hot, hazy and humid conditions Vancouver's been experiencing lately have been less to kind to complexions. But beyond that, I find that as summer transitions to fall and tans begin to fade, dark spots and unevenness start appearing—evidence of less-than-stellar SPF habits. Thank goodness for products like the new Caudalie Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence ($50 at BeautyMark), which is designed to be used in conjunction with their cult-fave Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum ($89 at BeautyMark). Combined, these products effectively yet gently brighten, lighten, and even out the skin, relying on naturals-heavy formulas to do so.


Minimalist Style: Matt & Nat x Indigo

Minimalist style #ootd featuring striped cold shoulder Massimo Dutti dress with ruffle sleeves, #MattandNatxIndigo millennial pink mauve limited edition clutch, white Birkenstock Gizeh sandals, Dior Addict Lip Tattoo 451, tortoiseshell cat-eye Ray Ban sunglasses

These days I gravitate towards easy-to-wear pieces that combine fashion and function, and if they streamline my routine, all the better. Case in point? This gorgeous 'Maya' wallet from the Matt & Nat x Indigo collection (now available at Indigo stores and through, which has integrated into my daily life seamlessly ever since I received it for review.


Summer Sunscreens On Rotation

Sunscreen round-up featuring: Aveeno Baby Face sunscreen stick SPF 50, Eau Thermale Avene SPF 50+ spray, Dermalogica SPF 50 Sport, Rocky Mountain Soap Co. SPF 31

Whatever your preferences are (Spray, solid, or lotion? Mineral or chemical? Drugstore or high-end?), the trick to making a habit of wearing sunscreen regularly is finding a formula that you'll love using and re-applying. Here are four I've been using lately.


P&G Summer Beauty Faves

P&G summer beauty faves

During the dog days of summer, there are a few things that can make the heat bearable: face mists, iced coffee, air conditioning at the office, a refreshing shower. My latest beauty mail delivery from P&G Beauty United featured a couple of drugstore delights that have made their way into my summer shower routine and helped me feel fresh in spite of the high temperatures.


4 Face Mists I'm Loving

Summer face mists and sprays: Eau Thermale Avene, Pixi Skintreats Vitamin Wakeup Mist, Caudalie Grape Water, Wake Up Your Face by Whiffcraft

Face mists and sprays have been an integral part of this summer's beauty routine, whether it's a morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up, a spritz after a hot and sweaty walk outside, or just a refreshing moment in my condo (which doesn't have air conditioning). The ones I'm sharing with you today are at least half-empty—that's how much I've been using them—and three out of four have been featured on the blog before. But hey, if I'm still gushing about them after all this time and usage they must be good! The other great thing about these mists is that the price tags hover around the $20 mark or lower. I find I don't use face mists as often when they're very expensive ones, and really, what good is a mist when you're not using it liberally to cool down and hydrate whenever you want to?


And I'm Back!

Summer #ootd with Breton stripes, Panama hat, cat-eye tortoiseshell shades, and denim shorts

Hello and happy August, dear readers! Thanks for bearing with me while I got my health sorted out. Here's what's been going on with me the last six weeks or so.


On A Personal Note

Sitting and reading The Handmaid's Tale on an urban oasis condo patio

As some of you know, I've been dealing with some chronic health issues since last August. It's nothing fatal, thank goodness, but it does mean that some weeks I'm bursting with energy and crossing everything off on my to-do list, while other weeks I have all the energy of a used tea bag and it's all I can do to drag myself from the bed to the couch and back again. Thankfully there is an end in sight for the up-and-down misery: I'm going into surgery today and after that (fingers crossed) I'll feel a lot better.

I'll be taking a few weeks off from blogging to relax and recuperate post-surgery, but if you miss me, there's always Instagram! Thanks as always for your support and for continuing to read and visit this little corner of cyberspace. See you soon!


Solo Lisa Tries: Pur Water Filter Pitcher

Pur water filtration pitcher and water filter system

Drinking more water helps your health in more ways than one: it replenishes fluids in muscles and tissues throughout the day and post-workout; it satisfies your thirst, which can sometimes be mistaken for hunger and cause you to inadvertently eat more than you need; it alleviates signs of dehydration like fatigue, brain fog, and headaches. I'm lucky to live in a municipality with great-tasting, safe drinking water straight from the tap, and there's filtered water at the office and the barre studio. But if that's not the case where you live, getting your required eight glasses a day becomes more challenging. The solution? Perhaps something like the Pur Water Filter Pitcher ($29.99 at London Drugs).


In-Depth Review: Vancity Subscription Box

Vancity Subscription Box

I'm lucky to live in an area full of indie boutiques, but for those of us who don't have the time to window-shop in Mt. Pleasant or live too far away, there is a solution! Enter Vancity Box, a new subscription box service that spotlights Vancouver makers. Marketed as "the city in a box" and "a farmer's market in a box," each month's curated selection aims to introduce subscribers to new-to-them labels and products from the Lower Mainland. The Vancity Box format previously featured one maker's wares at a time, but starting April of this year, this switched things up by offering a hodgepodge of products from different artisans. Here's what was in the April 2017 box I received for review.


Solo Lisa Reads: June 2017

Solo Lisa Reads: June 2017 book review round-up #indigofaves

Happy Monday, dear readers! We're heading into summer now, and even though the weather in Vancouver hasn't exactly been sunny, the season still calls for a breezy beach read or two. Whether you're lounging poolside or headed to a coffee shop to while away a rainy afternoon, these books will make the leisurely hours and minutes just fly by.

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